Porous Bodies

A series of screenings and events presented by Near Now Fellow Adham Faramawy

Posted on 2nd August 2019

Written by Adham Faramawy

Near Now Fellow Adham Faramawy introduces Porous Bodies, a series of screenings and events presented by the artist to complement his Fellowship research.

Through Broadway's Near Now Fellowship, Adham is focusing on ideas of immersive viewing and how performing bodies can engage with and be augmented by animated digital objects.


I’ve devised a selection of films and accompanying events that undermine the idea of the human body as a singular entity, exploding the idea of the body as a discreet biological category. Sometimes literally.

In the last few years I’ve been excited by the idea that human bodies, particularly in relation to sexuality and gender, can be denaturalized, that ideas of the natural can be debunked and through this action, social hierarchies can be decoded and misaligned.

Octopus, a Radical Faerie and medical anthropologist, introduced me to ideas of the microbiome, a collection of bacteria in the human gut recently recognized as an organ. Extending outward, Octopus described the body as a ‘holobiont’, “a diverse ecology comprising thousands of different cells and microbes in a state of co-evolution, entangled with our environment performing in unison as a biological matrix”.

This marked a shift in how I conceive of my body, and built directly on my readings of author Octavia Butler and her third gender Ooloi; their tender tentacles penetrating, tasting and healing their lovers. This image excited an interest in ideas of a queer porous body, or more explicitly the idea that all bodies are more porous than I’d previously imagined, guiding me to realign queer experiences of physicality and intimacy, often conflated with concerns around disease and morality, with something more holistic, even nourishing.

The films I have selected to be screened as part of Porous Bodies present a variety of often problematic approaches to the body, exploring perspectives that reframe the body as a plastic process, porous and adaptable, denaturalized, magic, science-fictive and miraculous.

Screenings and events

Tues 27 August, 8:00PM

  • The Congress + introduction by Adham Faramawy
  • Broadway

Date TBC

  • Belladonna of Sadness + Akira (Double bill)
  • Venue TBC

Date TBC

  • Paprika
  • Venue TBC

Coming soon

  • More screenings and events TBC

The Congress + introduction by Adham Faramawy

Tuesday 27 August, 8:00PM, Broadway

The Congress (2013)

Ari Folman follows his ground-breaking animated documentary Waltz with Bashir with an equally bold and brilliant movie.

Miramount Studio offers Robin Wright a deal that will guarantee her riches for life and fame well beyond that. They want to scan her, sample her, and take full rights to the virtual Robin Wright, the first true movie immortal. With only one condition: she must never act again. A visionary film that takes its place alongside Brazil, Blade Runner and Solaris, The Congress is both savagely funny and surprisingly moving.

Belladonna of Sadness + Akira – double bill

Date and venue TBC

Belladonna of Sadness (1973)

A 1973 Japanese animated musical inspired by the 19th-century French historian Jules Michelet’s account of witchery in the Middle Ages.

One of the great lost masterpieces of Japanese animation, Belladonna of Sadness is a mad, swirling, psychedelic light-show of medieval tarot-card imagery with horned demons, haunted forests and La Belle Dame Sans Merci, equal parts J.R.R. Tolkien and gorgeous, explicit Gustav Klimt-influenced eroticism.

Belladonna of Sadness, directed by Eiichi Yamamoto, unfolds as a series of spectacular still watercolour paintings that bleed and twist together. A young woman, Jeanne, is raped by the local lord on her wedding night. To take revenge, she makes a pact with the Devil himself, who appears as a sprite and transforms her into a black-robed vision of madness and desire.

Akira, dir. Katsuhiro Otomo (1988)

Akira, dir. Katsuhiro Otomo (1988)

Akira (1988)

Katsuhiro Otomo's landmark cyberpunk classic obliterated the boundaries of Japanese animation and forced the world to look into the future.

Neo-Tokyo, 2019. The city is being rebuilt post World War III when two high school drop outs, Kaneda and Tetsuo stumble across a secret government project to develop a new weapon – telekinetic humans. After Tetsuo is captured by the military and experimented on, he gains psychic abilities and learns about the existence of the project’s most powerful subject, Akira. Both dangerous and destructive, Kaneda must take it upon himself to stop both Tetsuo and Akira before things get out of control and the city is destroyed once again.

Paprika

Date TBC, Broadway

Paprika (2006)

Prepare to enter the realm of fantasy and imagination — where reality and dreams collide in a kaleidoscopic mindscape of sheer visual genius. The magical tale centres on a revolutionary machine that allows scientists to enter and record a subject’s dream. After being stolen, a fearless detective and brilliant therapist join forces to recover the device — before it falls into the hands of a “dream terrorist” in this gripping anime thriller from acclaimed director Satoshi Kon.

Banner image by Adham Faramawy.

Author

Adham Faramawy

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